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The Luberon Experience

www.luberonexperience.com

Trip Planning, France, Group Tours

Award-winning small group tour in the most beautiful area of Provence

Location: Provence


Experience the Magic of Provence in the Luberon

Imagine a land of rugged limestone cliffs, rust-colored ochre hills, low mountains and peaceful farms… of old stone huts, crumbling farmhouses, and beautifully-restored homes… of sweeping views that never seem to end.. Imagine a land of old perched villages… of vineyards, cherry and olive trees, poppies and lavender… of vibrant markets selling flowers, fruits and fabrics… of ancient churches and castles.

This land is the Luberon— a beautiful and peaceful oasis in Provence, a rural area stretching some 34 miles on either side of a small, rocky mountain range. The area offers travelers a wide diversity of experiences: a rich history dating back to prehistoric and Roman times, incredible landscapes of mountains and farmland, hilltop stone villages, the ruins of old castles, delightful outdoor markets, and a wide variety of food and wine. The light is fresh, the colors are vibrant, and the people are very welcoming. It’s a land where life moves more slowly, a land worth savoring... an ideal place to spend a leisurely week.

The Luberon Experience isn't like other tours. We offer a slower, more relaxing way of traveling, very unlike most group trips. Our groups are small, usually 10 to 14 people with a style and interests very similar to yours. We stay in one place for the entire week (a small and beautiful village guesthouse), and we focus most of our explorations within a 30 minute drive from that base. The schedule is interesting and varied, but also relaxed and flexible.

The Luberon Experience was recognized by National Geographic Traveler magazine as one of their Tours of a Lifetime for 2012.  We’re very proud to be identified as one of the best tours in the world, “designed for experience, immersion, sustainability, and cultural connection.”

Other travelers visit the Luberon-- you will experience it!

Experience a Village

Our week is based in the ancient hilltop village of Bonnieux. Bonnieux, with a year-round population of over 1400 people, is centrally located on the north side of the Luberon mountains and is considered one of the most beautiful villages in France. This is the village we call “home” in Provence.

Bonnieux offers panoramic views of the valley, farms and vineyards, neighboring villages, the Luberon mountains, and the 6263 foot peak of Mont Ventoux. The surrounding area is rich with discoveries including evidence of prehistoric life and a 2000-year old Roman bridge. Peter Mayle’s famous books about Provence were set in this area, and the 2006 movie A Good Year was filmed just outside the village.

During a week with The Luberon Experience, our groups become part of village life. You’ll get to know local residents; enjoy the cafes and restaurants, shops, and artist galleries; and shop at the Friday morning market. Bonnieux will feel like home. At the end of the week, you won’t want to leave.

Experience the People

We’ve made a lot of good friends in the Luberon, and many of them are involved with our groups during our Luberon Experience week. You’ll get to know fifteen to twenty local people and will visit with several of them in their homes. Some of our friends are members of families who have lived in the Luberon for generations; others have moved here to pursue their dreams. You’ll learn about the life of a winemaker, goat farmer, artist, market seller, and small business owner; you’ll hear first-hand what real life is like in Provence. This is a very important part of The Luberon Experience.

Experience the Lifestyle

Life in Provence is meant to be enjoyed. There’s a different way of life in a small village in the French countryside, a different tempo and rhythm, different customs and ways of interacting. Our week will allow you to understand and appreciate these differences and to let the Luberon work its special magic on you.

We have the perfect living environment to enhance our experience. The Luberon Experience is based in a beautiful small guesthouse in the heart of Bonnieux. This traditional Provençal property is over 200 years old but has been restored to high standards of comfort and style. Our groups enjoy special attention from the friendly local hosts. You’ll enjoy the beautiful garden, the swimming pool, and the unforgettable view.

You’ll have plenty of unstructured time to enjoy these surroundings. You’ll be busy, but you won’t end each day exhausted. Our schedule is fulfilling, but not too full. There’s always time for relaxing and enjoying your vacation… and downtime when you can be away from the group. We don’t waste time on long day trips, driving several hours to another hotel, or unpacking and repacking like people do on many tours. We want to be sure you experience the life… not just see the sights.

Experience the Cuisine and Wine

France is known for its wonderful cuisine, and Provence has many local specialties that take advantage of the abundant fresh produce… melons, strawberries, cherries, apricots, tomatoes, zucchini, olives, lettuces, cheeses and more. Our meals are a highlight of our week and involve a variety of settings and styles. We have a bountiful breakfast at our guesthouse each morning and also enjoy our first and last night’s dinner there, cooked by our host and served family style.

We seek out a variety of dining experiences that capture different aspects of Provence. We’ll eat at simple cafes, small intimate bistros, award-winning restaurants, and private homes. Our picnics are especially popular.  If you’re interested to know more about Provençal cooking, you can help our friend Janice prepare the evening meal she’ll host for our group one evening.

The Luberon is a major wine region, surrounded by some very important wine-producing areas. You’ll sample a variety of local wines with our meals. Several outstanding wineries are located near Bonnieux. We’ll have special visits to two of the most interesting wineries, where we’ll be hosted by the winemakers.

Experience a Stress-free Vacation

We handle the difficult and time-consuming aspects of international travel for your trip. We’ve arranged ideal accommodations, selected wonderful restaurants, and planned interesting and unique daily activities. You won’t have to worry about driving on unfamiliar roads or dealing on your own in a foreign language. You won’t waste time unpacking, repacking and moving between hotels. You won’t spend much of every day in a bus or van. Instead you’ll have time to relax and enjoy unexpected pleasures.

Our trip is similar to traveling with a group of compatible friends. You’ll enjoy sharing time with an interesting small group of travel companions, but you’ll also have plenty of personal time. Our groups include a variety of travelers: couples, pairs and small groups of friends and relatives, and solo travelers.

Most important, you’ll have the advantage of two leaders who know the area very well. You’ll meet many of our local friends and visit our favorite places. We’ll sample the best of life in the Luberon: the outdoor markets, the towns and villages, the never-ending views. You’ll enjoy the food and wine, taste the cheese, and even have a chance to do some cooking. You’ll have an experience that wouldn’t be possible on your own, an experience far beyond that of most visitors to Provence.

Experience the Luberon with Us

We’re former members of “Corporate America” who have a shared passion for European travel and especially the life in the Luberon area of Provence. Now a college professor, Kathy spent most of her career as a Human Resources executive.  Charley is a former sales specialist and stockbroker. We both enjoy literature, history, art, architecture, nature, food and wine, shopping, and being with people. These interests converged when we discovered European travel on our honeymoon trip almost 20 years ago.

In 2004 we pursued our dream of living and traveling in Europe for 14 months. The highlight of our trip was our time in the Luberon, where we lived for 6-1/2 months. We rented a 17th century farmhouse between Bonnieux and Lacoste, surrounded by vineyards, olive trees and cherry trees. Our 11-year old daughter attended the village school, and we became part of everyday life in Bonnieux. We lived—and loved—the good life in the Luberon.

Now back in America, we’re pursuing flexible careers that enable us to spend several months a year in Provence and other parts of Europe. We’re excited about sharing our love and indepth knowledge of the Luberon with other travelers through “The Luberon Experience.” We understand the needs, expectations and interests of English-speaking travelers. We'll make this a truly memorable vacation.

A Typical Week in the Luberon

Saturday

Bienvenue! Welcome!  

Sunday

L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue market; market lunch; village of Bonnieux.

Monday

Village of Saignon; goat farm visit and cheese tasting; cafe lunch in Bonnieux; Fort de Buoux or Foret de Cedres

Tuesday

Village of Gordes (market day); Abbaye de Sénanque; picnic lunch; winery tour and tasting at Chateau la Canorgue (filming location of A Good Year)

Wednesday

"Beyond the Luberon."  Day trip to the Alpilles mountains.

Thursday

Morning hike or abbey visit; village of Lacoste; village of Roussillon for lunch; Pont Julien (Roman bridge); cooking experience and dinner at a private home

Friday

Bonnieux market; tour, wine tasting and lunch at Domaine Faverot; castle ruins of Oppede-le-Vieux

Saturday

Au revoir! Goodbye!

Learn more about the Luberon Experience week here.

Dates and Prices

All weeks are Saturday to Saturday.

May/June 2013

We're now booking trips for 2013:

May 11 - 18

May 18 - 25

May 25 - June 1

Private trips for groups of 5-7 people are possible in September or early October.  Contact us to discuss possibilities.

Our 2014 schedule will be announced on March 1, 2013. 

Prices

$2,500 per person triple-occupancy

$2,800 per person double-occupancy

$3,300 single-occupancy (in a double room). 

Price includes: 7 nights accommodation with en-suite bath; 7 breakfasts, 4 lunches, 6 dinners (with wine); guided daytrips and special activities; all local transportation; and many extras.

Participants make their own arrangements for air transportation and travel to the Avignon TGV station or the Marseille Airport.

Rent our Bonnieux Apartment for your own Luberon Experience!

We now have our own apartment in Bonnieux, available for weekly rental most of the year when we're not there.  Our two-bedroom/1 bathroom newly-renovated apartment is right in the heart of Bonnieux, with a private covered terrace and a wonderful kitchen.  It's an ideal rental for couples, small families with older children, small groups of friends, and solo travelers. 

We've made this a very special place, using our experience renting 40+ apartments and other properties in Europe and listening to what Slow Travelers want in a vacation rental.

Our apartment is available for rent beginning in April 2013.  We're offering special introductory rates in April and May.  For more information, see our website at  www.luberonexperience.com/apartment.

Other European Experiences

We also offer similar small-group tours in other beautiful areas of Europe that we love.  Our other destinations vary each year and include the Salzkammergut in Austria, the Bavarian Alps in Germany, the Cotswolds in England, the Chianti region of Tuscany, Italy; and our newest trip to the Dordogne region of France.  See our European Experiences website for more information on these trips.  We offer special discounts to people who return with us for additional trips, and many people have joined us for a multiple Experiences.

Contact Information

Company: The Luberon Experience

Name: Kathy and Charley Wood

Street: 945 Ethans Glen Drive

City: Knoxville

State/Province: Tennessee

Country: USA

Zip/Postal Code: 37923

Phone: 865-693-3036

Website: www.luberonexperience.com

E-mail: Click here to send an e-mail inquiry


Listing #2180, on Slow Travel since 3/10/2006
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